Cronulla Sharks ran out 22-16 victors over Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started the game well when Josh Morris broke a Jesse Ramien tackle to stride over.
But their lead didn’t last long. The returning Josh Dugan fed Edrick Lee in the left corner and Towsend’s conversion gave the Sharks the lead.
Matt Moylan and Valentine Holmes combined to extended Cronulla’s lead.
The other Morris brother, Brett, was next on the scoresheet to keep the Bulldogs in touch. Moses Mbye’s penalty on the stroke of half-time saw the half finish 10-10.
Ramien edged the Sharks in front soon after the break before Brett Morris closed the gap with his second try.
Matt Prior’s try with 12 minutes to go gave Cronulla an eight-point buffer. The Sharks held on despite a late Mbye penalty after Josh Dugan was sin-binned.
Sharks: Dugan, Holmes, Ramien, Leutele, Lee, Moylan, Townsend, Fifita, Brailey, Prior, Capewell, Paulo, Gallen; Interchanges: Bukuya, Segeyaro, Seumanufagai, Williams
Tries: Lee, Holmes, Ramien, Prior; Goals: Townsend 3
Sin-bin: Dugan (80) – professional foul
Bulldogs: Mbye, B Morris, J Morris, Hopoate, Montoya, Frawley, Foran, Woods, Marshall-King, Priest, Jackson, Elliott, Martin; Interchanges: Klemmer, To’omaga, Holland, Fine
Tries: J Morris, B Morris 2; Goals: Mbye 2
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.